Lockdown – Day 71 – 5 June 2020 – Closeness

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Closeness. A few days ago, I thought about distance. Is closeness related to distance? I am not sure. I am not sure that closeness is the same as physical proximity. Or that distance destroys closeness.

Flauta Indígena de Bambu, Pássaros e Sons da Natureza (2018) – Meditação, Oração e Insônia

This started this morning during our exercise walk. Benji, the Yorkie, was with us. It is something I noticed during lockdown when he went with us on our walks. Mostly he ignores other dogs – too busy reading the p-mail. Every so often, he will pretend to “go” for a big dog. Then I remind him he still has two dogs in the freezer, and everything calms down.

Then there is the situation where he and another dog see, smell, or sense each other. They strain at the leashes and it is barking, growling, and digging to get at each other. Why, I wonder.

Closeness? Or a lack of closeness?

“Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, that without distance closeness cannot cure.”
– Henri Nouwen

“You can break through old limits, past inertia and fear, to… richness of choice, freedom, human closeness.”
– Marilyn Ferguson

“Intimacy is not a happy medium. It is a way of being in which the tension between distance and closeness is dissolved and a new horizon appears. Intimacy is beyond fear.”
– Henri Nouwen

“In this world, conversations are negotiations for closeness in which people try to seek and give confirmation and support, and to reach consensus. They try to protect themselves from others’ attempts to push them away.”
– Deborah Tannen

“Words are a pretext. It is the inner bond that draws one person to another, not words.”
– Rumi.

Read more at https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/closeness-quotes


What causes people to be attracted to each other, not in a physical, sexual way? Attracted on a mind level, a connection level, a “I-like-you-level?” You know what I mean. Sometimes you meet somebody, and you just know you like the person. You connect, the opposite of Benji and the aggressive reaction.

I think it lies on an energy level. An energy-wavelength level. Or perhaps one can say on a spiritual level. Or to go where I am totally ignorant, the auras gel. When that happens, there is normally an immediate comfort, ease, even a familiarity, in the closeness.

Good as it is, that is not necessarily a closeness.


Closeness is rather the intimacy of which Henry Nouwen speaks. It is a connection on a different level. Knowing or sensing what somebody else feels and allowing for the unspoken emotions. Perhaps it arises from empathy? I think we need closeness to be “whole” and happy. Or do we?  Henry Nouwen is well worth reading.

What creates closeness? The energy waves? The willingness to be vulnerable and open to somebody else? A sharing of values? Acceptance? The fact that somebody else accepts you for who you are? I do not know. We need to be heard, we need to be respected. Especially by those nearest to us? Or am I missing the target?


Closeness is not synonymous with love. There are many people that I love but I am not equally close to all of them.  I use love in a broad sense. It is not that I love some people (those that I feel close to) more. 

I am not sure where closeness comes from or how it grows. I think Rumi is right, it comes from inside us.

And perhaps Deborah Tannen is also right when she says that conversations are negotiations for closeness. At the least conversations is an effort to be understood, to be heard. Perhaps conversations are a way of reaching out to create acceptance, to feel “known,” to feel that you matter, to feel that somebody respects you.



Perhaps we need more closeness in a world where homo homini lupus est. An old Latin proverb meaning “man is a wolf to man.” I often wonder if the senseless violence in our society is not a cry for closeness, a rebellion against homo homini lupus est! It is a dehumanising situation, and we have a need for closeness, to be heard, to be understood, for respect. For dignity. What happens when you are contiously treated without respect and robbed of dignity?

That is perhaps why it hurts when somebody does not listen, interrupts, just ignore you? Perhaps that is when we become wolves to each other? When we humiliate people? Treat then without respect? Destroy their dignity?

“You can break through old limits, past inertia and fear, to… richness of choice, freedom, human closeness.”
– Marilyn Ferguson

Closeness is not about proximity, because I can feel close to people far from me. Even if I see them seldom.

I do not understand closeness, it is easily destroyed and difficult to rebuild.

I would like to hear your thoughts. Please leave your comments below.


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